Browning leads junior Wallabies
Browning leads junior WallabiesSHARE
Reds loose forward Curtis Browning will lead the Australian Under-20 side against Ireland in their opening game of the IRB Junior World Championships on Wednesday.
The starting side features seven players with previous U20 experience and five 2012 Australian Schoolboys. The reserves bench also boasts two members of last year's U20 squad.
The Irish have had the benefit of the U20 Six Nations as preparation and Australian coach Adrian Thompson knows they will bring a serious physical presence to the match.
"Ireland will be tough. We will need to match them physically if we are to win this game.
"Preparation has been good and the boys are excited for the first game," Thompson said.
Five members of the starting forward pack have previous Junior World Championship experience.
In the front row, loosehead Silatolu Latu, hooker Maile Ngauamo and tightead Oliver Hoskins were all members of last year's Australian U20 campaign.
In the lock position, Senio Toleafoa also played in last year's Junior World Championship, but for the Samoan Under 20s. He is joined by 2012 Australian Schoolboys lock Tom Staniforth.
The loose forwards features further Australian Schoolboys experience in 2011 representative Michael Wells at blindside and 2012 player Jack Dempsey at openside. Packing down at No.8 is their captain, Browning, who brings with him both Australian U20 and Super Rugby experience.
The backline features two members of last year's Junior World Championship side, along with three 2012 Australian Schoolboys and a representative of Australia's Sevens development side.
A former age-grade representative in both Rugby and rugby league, Ben Meehan starts the backline at scrumhalf, linking with 2012 Australian Schoolboys flyhalf Jake McIntyre.
The centres pairing sees Queensland Reds Extended Player Squad and 2012 Australian U20s representative Ulupano Seuteni joined by Lalakai Foketi of the 2012 Australian Schoolboys program.
Kicking off the back three at No.11, Alex Northam will earn his first Australian U20 cap after being brought into the squad last year as a late injury change, but not taking the field in Australia's final game of the tournament.
At No.14 is Harry Parker, who brings with him the experience of having represented Australia's Sevens development side, the Aussie Thunderbolts.
Finally, at fullback, 2012 Australian Schoolboys representative Jonah Placid, the youngest member of this year Australian Under-20 touring party.
Thompson has chosen a five-three split on the bench. Hooker Andrew Ready is joined by 2012 Australian U20 props Pettowa Paraka and Allan Alaalatoa as front row replacements.
New South Wales Schools 2012 loose forward Ofiu Manukeu-Archibald and Patrick Sio, brother of Brumbies prop Scott, round out the forward replacements.
Backing up at scrumhalf is Waldo Wessels, who won a Bronze medal as part of Australia's Youth Commonwealth Games Sevens side in 2011. He is joined by utility back Luke Burton, a former West Australian Schoolboys rep, and Queensland Schoolboys centre Henry Taefu.
The Australian U20s face Ireland in their opening match of the IRB Junior World Championship at Stade de la Rabine in Vannes, France, on Wednesday, 5 June.
Australia Under-20: 15 Jonah Placid, 14 Harry Parker, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Ulupano Seuteni, 11 Alex Northam, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Curtis Browning (captain), 7 Jack Dempsey, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Tom Staniforth, 4 Senio Toleafoa, 3 Oliver Hoskins, 2 Maile Ngauamo, 1 Silatolu Latu.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Pettowa Paraka, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Ofiu Manukeu-Archibald, 20 Patrick Sio, 21 Waldo Wessels, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Henry Taefu
Date: Wednesday, 5 June
Venue: Stade de la Rabine, Vannes
Kick-off: 18.45 (16.45 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Mathieu Noirot (France)